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HealthSheets™

Ventilator Education for Patients & Families

 Why has the Ventilator (Respirator) become necessary at this time?

A ventilator is used to help someone breathe. This therapy will continue until a physician determines that it is no longer necessary.

 

How will the physician know when it is no longer necessary?

Daily assessments by physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists, including blood tests and breathing assessments, will help determine when the patient his able to breathe on his or her own.

 

How are you preventing complications associated with the ventilator?

We have developed several steps to help prevent complications such as pneumonia and blood clots from occurring.

For example, to help prevent pneumonia, we have a few key procedures in place:

  1. The head of the bed is kept elevated 30-45 degrees. This angle helps prevent individuals from aspirating, or inhaling food or fluids into their lungs, which can introduce organisms that cause pneumonia.

  2. The tube in the patient’s mouth includes a cuff that is inflated and also prevents aspirating anything into the lungs.

  3. Physicians will prescribe medication to prevent stomach ulcers from forming.

  4. Oral care is performed to help keep the patient’s mouth clean from bacteria.

What other precautions will be done?

Patients also wear special stockings or have inflating boots on their legs to help prevent blood clots from forming.

 

If you have any additional questions about the use of the ventilator/respirator, please ask your nurse, respiratory therapist, or physician for additional information.

  

 The information provided in this publication is for general education purposes and is not intended to constitute medical advice. The information should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, nor should it be used to replace the advice of licensed healthcare professionals. Health concerns or questions should be discussed with your physician. If you have any concerns about your health, please contact your healthcare provider.                                                                 Approved PHCS Patient Education Council June 2010